About

About me

My name is Steph and I am a basketmaker. I live on a farm in rural Herefordshire where we have a small herd of cattle and I currently grow around 1/8 of an acre of willow with 26 different varieties of willow specifically chosen for basketry. 

However, this hasn’t always been the case.

I am a qualified primary school teacher but I left the teaching profession in 2017 to cycle the length of South America, finishing two years later in Canada. The pandemic halted travel plans and in May 2022 I joined a local workshop to ‘have a go’ at basket weaving. Since then I’ve been hooked!

In October 2022 I started the City and Guilds Basketry course at Westhope College in Shropshire. Over ten months, and with the excellent mentorship of the course tutors, I passed with a Distinction and have become a confident basketmaker.

Why coffins?​

A month after starting my basketry course, my grandad sadly passed away and after the funeral, I felt that there must be a more sustainable option to the standard MDF coffin. This led me down a rabbit hole, researching willow coffins and what, if any, were available locally. Finally in March 2023 I spent a week with Caz Ingall, a Warwickshire based coffin maker, to learn the craft.

I found the process of weaving a coffin to be totally different to anything I had done before. I started to feel that there was a greater purpose to my weaving and a deeper connection to the natural materials I was using. This is especially true since I have planted (and now harvested by hand) my first crop of willow. For the willow to be grown and woven into coffins here on our small Herefordshire farm reduces the carbon footprint of our coffins considerably. The material travels less than 0.5 miles from field to workshop where I know that it has been organically grown, with no use of pesticides or herbicides and is 100% sustainable .

At Wegnalls Willow Coffins we are committed to using locally sourced, natural and sustainable materials in our coffins, ashes urns and basketry commissions, in order to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

I believe that a coffin is the most special basket and final resting place that you can make for a person. Wegnalls Willow Coffins are made with love and care in every weave.

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